Avengers: Age of Ultron

Year: 2015
Production Co: Marvel Studios
Studio: Disney
Director: Joss Whedon
Producer: Kevin Fiege
Writer: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, James Spader, Samuel L Jackson, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, Andy Serkis, Stan Lee

The Marvel Universe is like a shark. To survive (creatively, maybe – the company shows no signs of slowing down financially), it has to keep moving.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is an example within the canon of where it slowed down, doing too much of the same thing and proving too effective a target for naysayers. It's truly The Avengers II in everything from the character dynamic to the tone, the gags and the action.

I'm sure I've admitted before that I'm not a comic book geek, so maybe I'm the wrong moviegoer to comment on how it's just another super-villain who shows up to destroy the world, prompting the same wisecracking heroes to assemble the same weapons and skills to save it.

An old artificial intelligence program Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) has in the works blinks, wakes up and comes online, knowing itself as Ultron (James Spader) and deciding the human race has to be wiped out thanks to some software glitch or other.

I can't even remember most of what goes on in the plot now, but if you care that much it all ends up in central Europe where the plan to destroy humanity is to use gigantic helo-carrier engines to dig up a whole town, fly it miles into the air and drop it back to Earth, creating an asteroid-like effect that will wipe everyone out.

But before all that there's a pretty exciting freeway truck chase, a lot of exposition buried in a running time that's way too long, a few subplots that are mildly interesting but immediately forgettable and the setting up of some new characters. What was good fun the first time around is just the B side of a seven inch single now.

Whedon, Downey Jr and several others are apparently bowing out, and it's not a minute too soon.

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